Despite only training with the first team for a few days, Zimmerman made himself available to head coach Oscar Pareja for Tuesday’s 4-2 home win against D.C. United. Pareja said Zimmerman wasn’t initially in his plans for the match, but he decided to start Zimmerman after those few days of practice.
“He put himself today for the team,” Pareja said. “He did a tremendous job. I am very content to see a player stretching himself for the team.”
Pareja was rewarded with a solid performance from the Georgia native, who returned from a strained left MCL for his first appearance since May 28th. Playing alongside Atiba Harris at center back, Zimmerman played all 90 minutes as the Dallas backline limited D.C. United to just six shots on target.
“I might have played a little bit more conservatively, but it’s good to come back,” Zimmerman said. “There were definitely some moments where I played a little bit more cautiously for sure, it was one of those games where you get that veteran leadership and some confidence and composure to play smart.”
The Dallas defense on Tuesday looked quite different than it did in Zimmerman’s last match. While Zimmerman was still joined on the right side by Hernan Grana, the two left-side Dallas defenders were both different, with Ryan Hollingshead and Harris taking the place of Maynor Figueroa and Matt Hedges, both away on international duty.
The change in personnel didn’t harm Zimmerman’s play, but rather reinforced his belief about the strength of the Dallas defense.
“I’m confident in the depth that we have on this team,” Zimmerman said. “You saw Atiba get a goal, Ryan create a goal, Hernan getting forward, I thought the guys did really well around me.”
From adjusting to a new-look backline, to being able to push his fitness, Zimmerman showed his worth to the team on Tuesday. A player willing to sacrifice himself while adapting to those around him.